Ancient Babylonia is the term used to
describe an ancient state in the southern part of
Mesopotamia. (Inside modern Iraq).
Named for its capital city, Babylon, it combined the
territories of Sumer and Akkad. The earliest mention of Babylon
can be found in a tablet of the reign of Sargon of Akkad,
dating back to the 2300 BCE.
Historically, two ethnic groups, the Sumerians and Akkadians, had dominated the
region. Babylonia emerged when Hammurabi, 1728 – 1686
BCE created an empire out of the territories of the
former kingdoms of Sumer and Akkad.
Being a Semitic people, Babylonia adopted the written
Semitic Akkadian language for official use, and retained the
Sumerian language for religious use, which by that time was no
longer a spoken language.
The Akkadian and Sumerian cultures played a major role in
later Babylonian culture, and the area, rich in natural
resources, and strategically located for trade routes and
commerce, was under threat from outsiders throughout its
The Babylonians are generally credited with the birth of
astrological charts enabled them to predict the recurrence
of seasons and certain celestial events. So, in the
beginning, and for more than 2,000 years, Astrology and
Astronomy were the same science.
Babylonian astrologers believed that The Sun, The Moon, and the five planets known at
that time (Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, and Venus) possessed distinct powers. Mars,
for example, appeared to be red and was thus associated with
aggression and war.
Babylonian Astrology was introduced to the Greeks early in the 4th
century BCE and, through the studies of Plato, Aristotle, and others, Astrology
came to be highly regarded as a science. It was soon
embraced by the Romans,(the Roman names for the
Signs are still used today), and the Arabs and later
spread throughout the entire world.
While earliest Astrology was used to bring a sense of order
out of apparent chaos, it was soon utilized to predict weather
patterns, primarily for agricultural purposes. It was
eventually broadened to include forecasts of natural
disasters, war, and other events in the course of human
affairs. Amassing successes in these fields, it was a natural
progression for Astrology to be used as counsel for kings and
emperors and, through time, for us all.
The New Approach
The origins of Babylonian philosophy can be traced back to
early Mesopotamian wisdom, which embodied certain philosophies
of life, particularly ethics. These are reflected in
Mesopotamian religion and in a variety of Babylonian literature
in the forms of dialectic, dialogs, epic poetry, folklore,
hymns, lyrics, prose, and proverbs.
During the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, Babylonian
Astrologers/Astronomers developed a new empirical approach.
They began studying Philosophy dealing with the ideal nature of
the universe and began employing an internal logic within their
predictive planetary systems. This was an important
contribution to Astrology, Astronomy and the philosophy of
science. In fact, some scholars refer to this new
approach as the first scientific revolution. This new
approach was adopted and further developed in Greek and
Hellenistic studies of the subjects.
Classical Greek and Latin sources frequently use the term
Chaldeans for the astronomers of Mesopotamia, who were, in
reality, priests and scribes specializing in Astrology and
other forms of divination.